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HomeSportsFootballArsenal Can he be the Gunners’ new winger?

Arsenal Can he be the Gunners’ new winger?

Arsenal’s hunt for a dynamic winger takes aim at Spanish youngster Nico Williams. Blessed with two-footed dribbling magic and relentless pressing, Williams offers a potential upgrade on Gabriel Martinelli’s current form. This analysis dissects his strengths and weaknesses, exploring how he could add a much-needed spark to Arsenal’s attack.

Nico Williams – Player Profile

Nico Williams has developed through the youth ranks of the Athletic Club and has made his senior team debut in 2021. Ever since he’s scored plenty of goals, contributed to the success of his club and also at the same time made a name for himself in the famous red and white.

He particularly burst into light in the 2022-23 season, his excellent performances for Athletic Club earned him his first international call-up which resulted in a debut for Spain. Often known for his flair and pace, Williams is an exciting prospect out there in European football!

Firstly, let’s start by looking at his player profile

Age: 21
Club: Athletic Club
Position: LW/RW
Foot: Right/Left
Nationality: Spanish
Value: £54M
Height: 5’11 Avg

Nico, a versatile winger, brings a two-sided threat to the pitch. He seamlessly switches flanks, utilizing his impressive dribbling skills to torment defenders. Don’t be fooled by his attacking prowess – Nico’s relentless pressing disrupts play and fuels his offensive runs. Watch for his signature move: cutting inside from the wings to create havoc in the box.

Alos read: Match Preview – UCL Quarterfinal LEG 1: Arsenal Cruised Comfortably

Nico isn’t just a flashy winger. His unwavering commitment to dribbling turns every touch into a threat. Whether it’s beating a man, creating a precise pass, or whipping in a dangerous cross, Nico’s dedication is evident in his play. No wonder he leads La Liga players in assists this season with a remarkable 12!

Nico-Williams-take-ons

He always has an eye for a pass, especially when he’s dribbling through the flanks, he makes the most of the overlapping/underlapping runs and sneaks a pass. Attracts players whilst leaving the empty spaces for his teammates to thrive on.

Something that’s always common with him; may it be dribbling from the right or left is his close control and quickness to change the passage of play and ability to take on more than 1 player at a time.

The Spaniard’s two-footed prowess is a certain plus point while he accelerates with his blistering pace. His low centre of gravity with a well-built lower body allows him to do it effortlessly. He has a great influence on the passage of play to the box.

Nico’s emergence majorly came on the right flank last season but he’s been vastly used on the left for Spain and also Athletic this season. This goes on to say how adaptable he is in different setups and what he goes on to offer in different positions.

Nico-Williams-heatmap

Nico is a natural width holder at LW and would help stretch the opposition out of position in their defensive structure which then allows his teammates spaces between the lines. Something may that can be advantageous for Kai Havertz.

He likes to position himself on the inside when the RB operates as the width holder, but when needed can drift infield, either to draw extra man and create space or to create pass-and-move scenarios and move the ball in central spaces.

Nico-Williams-player-analysis

Nico’s quality in 1v1 duels is a turn-off for almost all defenders when he takes them on. His competency in take-ons speaks of how relentless he is on the ball. His dribbling might not always be ambitious but it does lead to relatively high (17%) to shot creation actions. The other being open play passes (63%) or set pieces (11%) go on to show his knack to find teammates in highly anticipated areas.

In more transitional situations, Nico Williams won’t hesitate to bypass the 1v1 completely by simply knocking the ball into space & challenging the defender in a race he’ll win against most FBs because of his speed. At the same time, his progressive actions on the pitch are really impressive.

Nico-Williams-progressive-action-map-athletic-bilbao

He uses his body at its full potential – doesn’t take too long to feast on space and snap a shot at the goal with his ball striking. Every single time he picks up the ball he tries driving into the box, driving to the line or even cutting across to give more passing options.

ALso read: 5 Key Clashes – UCL Quarterfinal First Leg

His commitment and work rate are standouts when you watch him play. His energy and high pressing is something even Arteta would have his eye on. He’s a no-brainer when it comes to passing options in transitions.

His ambi-pedal skillset allows him to attempt shots from different angles with power and finesse. Currently, he’s been underperforming his xG whilst overperforming his xA

Let’s try pin pointing some of the areas Nico Williams can improve on

Injury record: He’s had multiple minor hamstring injuries throughout his career; reason being the use of his upper leg muscles while accelerating tends to overwork the thighs and calves. Not very concerning but can disrupt his form and availability.

Nico-Williams-injury-news
Image Credit: transfermarkt

Inconsistency in Finishing: As good of a ball striker he is, his finishing does lack the cutting edge in instances. Has the technique in finishing but needs to assess his options and stay calm composed to pull a finish off. He’s majorly underachieving his xG rate this season. He needs to refine his end product.

Nico-Williams-shot-map

Nico Williams vs Gabriel Martinelli

Martinelli hasn’t been at it due to the change in dynamics this season reason being due to the change in tactics. He’s part of the build-up phase more – receiving high and wide which has resulted in a major drop-off in receiving the ball in central areas and not been inverting as much. RHS overload hasn’t benefitted him at the left as it did when Xhaka was employed at the club.

He’s often made to stick to the line which isn’t where he naturally shines. He thrives on runs into channels, cutbacks, and crashing into the box. Regardless of the tweak in the setup this season, Martinelli still is a crucial part of the earlier build-up phases in attack.

arsenal-vs-brighton-premier-league-2023-24.

Nico can provide a different angle to the LW and also tweak a linear set-up for Arsenal. Him playing deeper from LW, can give Saka on the RW more room. He’s brilliant at breaking into half-spaces and pulling it back for his midfielders. Someone like Ødegaard can thrive a lot from this.

He has the natural ability to make the pitch big, pin the fullbacks, put in quality crosses with both feet and in a unique fashion carry the ball in his left foot rather than his supposedly stronger right foot. Overall gives a different setup for Arsenal to rely on.

Nico-Williams-Arsenal-scouting-report-analysis

Conclusion

Going into the summer, Williams remains as one of the few options Arsenal have in the market. If they plan to get a winger + striker for cheap, it can boost their squad for next season massively.

He is more of a project winger for the team but I reckon he can be the finished product really soon. He can diversify the squad if he’s given the right opportunity. He’s a blend of all the wingers we have at the club and a mix of his own talent too.

Nico-Williams-percentile-rank-vs-attacking-mid-wingers

Arsenal does lack a reliable cover for both Martinelli and Saka, especially the latter. He would enhance them by providing backup/super sub and also being a cheap, at the same time fascinating alternative in the market. Leading the boards in Spain, might as well in England?

Also read: Arsenal’s Rising Star Shines Bright: Emile Smith Rowe Steals The Show In 2-0 Victory Over Luton, Arteta’s Praise Rings Loud

“In my case, I’ve only been playing regularly in the first team for one season. I still do not know what I want to do with my life” ~ Nico Williams.

Might as well join the most intriguing project in world football under the right coach.

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